O'odham is an Uto-Aztecan
Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a Native American language family consisting of over 30 languages. Uto-Aztecan languages are found from the Great Basin of the Western United States , through western, central and southern Mexico Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a Native American language family...
language of southern Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...
and northern Sonora
Sonora officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo....
where the Tohono O'odham
The Tohono O'odham are a group of Native American people who reside primarily in the Sonoran Desert of the southeastern Arizona and northwest Mexico...
(formerly called the Papago
Papago may refer to:* An archaic term for Tohono O'odham people* Papago , a genus of geometer moths* Papago Freeway, I-10 through Phoenix, Arizona* Papago Freeway Tunnel, a tunnel in Arizona* Papago Park, a park in Arizona...
) and Pima
The Pima are a group of American Indians living in an area consisting of what is now central and southern Arizona. The long name, "Akimel O'odham", means "river people". They are closely related to the Tohono O'odham and the Hia C-ed O'odham...
reside. As of the year 2000, there were estimated to be approximately 9750 speakers in the United States and Mexico combined, although there may be more due to underreporting. It is the 10th most-spoken indigenous language in the United States, the 3rd most-spoken indigenous language in Arizona after Apache
The Western Apache language is a Southern Athabaskan language spoken by over 12,000 of the Western Apache peoples living primarily in east central Arizona...
Navajo or Navaho is an Athabaskan language spoken in the southwestern United States. It is geographically and linguistically one of the Southern Athabaskan languages .Navajo has more speakers than any other Native American language north of the...
. It is the 3rd most-spoken language in Pinal County and the 4th most-spoken language in Pima County
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*74.3% White*3.5% Black*3.3% Native American*2.6% Asian*0.2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.7% Two or more races*12.4% Other races*34.6% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...
. Approximately 8% of O'odham speakers in the US speak English "not well" or "not at all", according to results of the 2000 Census. Approximately 13% of O'odham speakers in the US were between the ages of 5 and 17, and among the younger O'odham speakers, approximately 4% were reported as speaking English "not well" or "not at all".
Native names for the language, depending on the dialect and orthography, include Oʼodham ha-ñeʼokĭ, Oʼottham ha-neoki, and Oʼodham ñiok.
- Tohono O'odham
- Cukuḍ Kuk
- Akimel O'odham
- Eastern Gila
- Salt River
- Western Gila
- Hia C-ed O'odham
Due to the paucity of data on the linguistic varieties of the Hia C-ed O'odham
The Hia C-eḍ O'odham , also known as Areneños, Sand Papagos, or Sand Pimas are a Native American peoples whose traditional homeland lies between the Ajo Range, the Gila River, the Colorado River, and the Gulf of California...
, this section currently focuses on the Tohono O'odham and Akimel O'odham dialects only.
The greatest lexical and grammatical dialectal differences are between the Tohono O'odham (or Papago) and the Akimel O'odham (or Pima) dialect groupings. Some examples:
| Tohono O'odham
|| Akimel O'odham
|| to send
|| to wait for
|| to be cool
|| hoʼiumi (but si:ṣpakuḍ, stapler)
|| to fasten
| pi: haʼicug
|| pi ʼac
|| to be absent
|| hunt tr.
There are other major dialectal differences between northern and southern dialects, for example:
| Early O'odham
|| to be shaded
|| (go) back
The Cukuḍ Kuk dialect has null in certain positions where other Tohono O'odham dialects have a bilabial:
| Other TO dialects
|| Chukuḍ Kuk
| jiwia, jiwa
|| to arrive
| wabṣaba, ṣaba
O'odham is an agglutinative language, where words use suffix complexes for a variety of purposes with several morpheme
In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word,...
s strung together.
For clarity, note that the terms Tohono O'odham and Papago refer to the same language; likewise for Akimel O'odham and Pima.
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...
A retroflex consonant is a coronal consonant where the tongue has a flat, concave, or even curled shape, and is articulated between the alveolar ridge and the hard palate. They are sometimes referred to as cerebral consonants, especially in Indology...
Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough or with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no...
The retroflex consonants are apical
An apical consonant is a phone produced by obstructing the air passage with the apex of the tongue . This contrasts with laminal consonants, which are produced by creating an obstruction with the blade of the tongue .This is not a very common distinction, and typically applied only to fricatives...
Postalveolar consonants are consonants articulated with the tongue near or touching the back of the alveolar ridge, further back in the mouth than the alveolar consonants, which are at the ridge itself, but not as far back as the hard palate...
| || Front|
A front vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far in front as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Front vowels are sometimes also...
A central vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a central vowel is that the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel...
A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Back vowels are sometimes also called dark...
A mid vowel is a vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned mid-way between an open vowel and a close vowel...
All vowels distinguish three degrees of length: long, short, and extra-short.
The Seris are an indigenous group of the Mexican state of Sonora. The majority reside on the Seri communal property , in the towns of Punta Chueca and El Desemboque on the mainland coast of the Gulf of California...
" /ʂɨɭ/ "permission"
/aːpi/ "you" /daːpĭ/ "I don't know", "who knows?"
Papago /ɨ/ is pronounced /ʌ/ in Pima.
Additionally, in common with many northern Uto-Aztecan languages, vowels and nasals at end of words are devoiced. Also, a short schwa
In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa can mean the following:*An unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in some languages, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel...
sound, either voiced or unvoiced depending on position, is often interpolated between consonants and at the ends of words.
Allophony and distribution
is realized as [i̥], and devoices preceding obstruents: /tʃʊwĭ/ → [tʃʊʍi̥]~[tʃʊʍʲ] "jackrabbit".
is a fricative [β] before unrounded vowels: [βisiɭɔ].
appears before /k/ and /ɡ/ in Spanish loanwords, but native words do not have nasal assimilation: [toːnk] "hill", [namk] "meet", [tʃaːŋɡo] "monkey". /p/, /ɭ/, and /ɖ/ rarely occur initially in native words, and /ɖ/ does not occur before /i/.
and [n] are largely in complementary distribution, [ɲ] appearing before high vowels /i/ /ɨ/ /ʊ/, [n] appearing before low vowels /a/ /ɔ/: "sing". They contrast finally ( (1st imperfective auxiliary) vs. "next to speaker"), though Saxton analyzes these as /ani/ and /an/, respectively, and final [ɲi] as in as /niː/. However, there are several Spanish loanwords where [nu] occurs: "number". Similarly, for the most part [t] and [d] appear before low vowels while [tʃ] and [dʒ] before high vowels, but there are exceptions to both, often in Spanish loanwords: ("tequila") "wine", TO / AO ("[de]bajo") "under".
There are two orthographies commonly used for the O'odham language, Alvarez-Hale and Saxton. The Alvarez-Hale orthography is officially used by the Tohono O'odham Nation and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and is used in this article, but the Saxton orthography is also common and is official in the Gila River Indian Community. It is relatively easy to convert between the two, the differences between them being largely no more than different graphemes for the same phoneme, but there are distinctions made by Alvarez-Hale not made by Saxton.
|| a ʼaʼal
|| a a'al
|| b ban
|| b ban
|| c cehia
|| ch chehia
|| d da:k
|| th thahk
|| ḍ meḍ
|| d med
|| ḏ juḏum
|| d judum
| TO /ɨ/, AO /ʌ/
|| e ʼeʼeb
|| e e'eb
|| stop crying
|| g gogs
|| g gogs
|| h haʼicu
|| h ha'ichu
| TO /i/, AO /ɨ/
|| i ʼi:bhai
|| i ihbhai
|| prickly pear cactus
|| j ju:kĭ
|| j juhki
|| k ke:k
|| k kehk
|| l lu:lsi
|| l luhlsi
|| m mu:ñ
|| m muhni
|| n na:k
|| n nahk
|| ñ ñeʼe, mu:ñ
|| n, ni ne'e, muhni
|| sing, bean(s)
|| ŋ aŋhil, wa:ŋgo
|| ng, n anghil, wahngo
|| angel, bank
|| o ʼoʼohan
|| o o'ohan
|| p pi
|| p pi
|| s sitol
|| s sitol
|| ṣ ṣoiga
|| sh shoiga
|| t to:bĭ
|| t tohbi
|| cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii)
|| u ʼu:s
|| u uhs
|| tree, wood
|| v vainom
|| v vainom
|| w wuai
|| w wuai
|| male deer
|| y payaso
|| y pa-yaso
|| ʼ ʼaʼan
|| ' a'an
|| : ju:kĭ
|| h juhki
The Saxton orthography does not mark word-initial /ʔ/ or extra-short vowels. Final
generally corresponds to Hale-Alvarez <ĭ> and final to Hale-Alvarez :
- Hale-Alvarez vs. Saxton /toːbĭ/ "cottontail rabbit"
- Hale-Alvarez vs. Saxton /ʔaːpi/ "I"
Etymological vs. Phonetic spelling
There is some disagreement among speakers as to whether the spelling of words should be only phonetic, or whether etymological principles should also be considered.
For example: oamajda vs. wuamajda ("frybread"; some people may also use a c instead of a j), oam means "yellow/brown/orange" and thus this is a compound word of sorts. Some people believe it should begin like any word that starts with a /ʊa/, wua, while others think its spelling should match that of the word oam (oam is in fact a form of s-oam, so while it could be spelt wuam itself, it is not because it is just a different declension of the same word) to reflect its etymology.
O'odham is notable for being non-configurational
In generative grammar, non-configurational languages are languages in which there is no verb phrase constituent . In configurational languages, the subject of a sentence is outside the VP and the object is inside; in non-configurational languages, since there is no VP constituent, there is no...
; for example, all of the following sentences mean "the boy brands the pig":
- ceoj ʼo g ko:jĭ ceposid
- ko:jĭ ʼo g ceoj ceposid
- ceoj ʼo ceposid g ko:jĭ
- ko:jĭ ʼo ceposid g ceoj
- ceposid ʼo g ceoj g ko:jĭ
- ceposid ʼo g ko:jĭ g ceoj
In principle, these could also mean "the pig brands the boy", but such an interpretation would require an unusual context.
Despite the general freedom of sentence word order, O'odham is fairly strictly verb-second
In syntax, verb-second word order is the rule in some languages that the second constituent of declarative main clauses is always a verb, while this is not necessarily the case in other types of clauses.- V2 effect :...
in its placement of the auxiliary verb (in the above sentences, it is ʼo):
- cipkan ʼañ "I am working"
- but pi ʼañ cipkan "I am not working", not *pi cipkan ʼañ
Verbs are inflected for aspect
In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb is a grammatical category that defines the temporal flow in a given action, event, or state, from the point of view of the speaker...
(imperfective cipkan, perfective cipk), tense
A tense is a grammatical category that locates a situation in time, to indicate when the situation takes place.Bernard Comrie, Aspect, 1976:6:...
(future imperfective cipkanad), and number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....
(plural cicpkan). Number agreement displays absolutive behavior: verbs agree with the number of the subject in intransitive sentences, but with that of the object in transitive sentences:
- ceoj ʼo cipkan "the boy is working"
- cecoj ʼo cicpkan "the boys are working"
- ceoj ʼo g ko:ji ceposid "the boy is branding the pig"
- cecoj ʼo g ko:ji ceposid "the boys are branding the pig"
- ceoj ʼo g kokji ha-cecposid "the boy is branding the pigs"
The main verb agrees with the object for person (ha- in the above example), but the auxiliary agrees with the subject: ʼa:ñi ʼañ g kokji ha-cecposid "I am branding the pigs".
Three numbers are distinguished in nouns: singular, plural, and distributive, though not all nouns have distinct forms for each. Most distinct plurals are formed by reduplication and often vowel loss, plus other occasional morphophonemic changes, and distributives are formed from these by gemination of the reduplicated consonant:
- gogs "dog", gogogs "dogs", goggogs "dogs (all over)"
- ma:gina "car", mamgina "cars", mammagina "cars (all over)"
- mi:stol "cat", mimstol "cats"
O'odham adjectives can act both attributively modifying nouns and predicatively as verbs, with no change in form.
- ʼi:da ṣu:dagĭ ʼo s-he:pid "This water is cold"
- ʼs-he:pid ṣu:dagĭ ʼañ hohoʼid "I like cold water"
The following is an excerpt from. It exemplifies the Salt River dialect.
In Saxton orthography:
- Nahnse ehtha, moh hek jeved uhth sih vehchoch, mahsh hek Tadai siskeg uhth u'uhig. Hek a'anach ch vopohch sih vo skegach ch ep sih chechvach. Kush am hebai hai kih g O'ottham sham o'oitham k am upam thahtha k am cheh mahsh hehkai chu hek ha nahtha. Ihtham O'othham sham eh hehmapa k am a'aga mahsh has mahsma vo bei hek nahtha ab amjeth hek Tatanigi Jiosh. Sha bi'ih a mahsh mo kahke hek Tadai mahsh mo mehtk amo tah'ih hek nahtha ha vehhejed ihtham O'ottham. Tadai shah ma sohhih mahsh mo mehdk amo tah'ih g nahtha hek Tatanigi Jiosh. Tho shuth mehtkam, am “sih ih naihsh hek vohgk” k gau mel mahsh am kih g Tatanigi Jiosh.